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Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

We are committed to sustaining a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community for all, with every student, employee, and family being treated with dignity, respect, and compassion as they develop a genuine and meaningful sense of belonging in our school. We want every child to feel:

- when they are absent, our community is not whole
- that their school loves them and cares for them

Here are seven purposeful actions NPES takes to achieve our DEIB goals:

1. Fostering Diverse Perspectives in the Classroom

Emphasizing an experience-centered education with a rich multicultural curriculum that includes real-world experiences through NPES’ own Edventures Program, including service learning partnerships, field studies, neighborhood explorations, and a robust student travel program.

2. Participating in SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)

All teaching faculty and full-time staff have completed at least one year of SEED (new NPES employees are required to participate in their first year at the school). SEED seminars help individuals “embrace the challenges and joys of the many kinds of diversity found in their own lives and in the lives of others with more confidence and competence.”

3. Building Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

We partner with the Single Story organization to ensure our educational program continues to evolve in multicultural education, social justice education, and culturally-responsive pedagogy and curriculum in all areas of the school. We also provide opportunities for students to grapple with complex world issues that enable them to explore the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic society.

4. Developing Student Voice, Affirming and Celebrating the Authentic Self

We provide multiple opportunities in our curriculum for students at every grade to explore their identities, develop their voices, and live their authentic truth, as we offer affirming identity mirrors and windows for all. We also curate class meetings, an advisory program, a cross-grade buddies program, community-building events throughout the year, and engagement with our school counselors and all faculty to model, teach, and provide student practice in developing healthy and sustainable social-emotional skills. 

5. Teaching Gender Identity Development and Healthy Boundaries

In collaboration with Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, we educate faculty/staff and all students on gender identity development and establishing safe and healthy boundaries, including the differences between sex assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, and sexuality, along with important concepts like consent and how to be an upstander against gender-based bias and bullying.

6. Creating Purposeful Spaces Beyond the Classroom for Leading Equity & Inclusion Efforts

These evolving spaces currently include our faculty/staff Diversity Action Team (DAT), the Middle School Student PRIDE Alliance, our Parents’ Association Cultural Celebrations Committee, and the Board of Trustees’ DEI Committee. Beyond our own community, NPES employees have participated in the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference, the White Privilege Conference, and the Lake Michigan Association of Independent School Diversity Job Fair. A member of the NPES faculty also serves on the regional Independent Schools’ Association of the Central States’ Equity & Justice Committee.

7. Seeking to Create and Sustain a Diverse School Community United by the NPES Educational Philosophy and Mission

At this time, 25% of NPES students self-identify as students of color through their families, and 23% of our faculty/staff self-identify as Asian/Pacific-Islander, Multiracial (including Black/African American), Latinx, or Indigenous American. We have a broad spectrum of gender and sexuality identities in our community, and we celebrate the unique abilities, learning styles, and important contributions of NPES students who offer neurodivergence, currently comprising about 17% of our school. We actively work to expand the school’s reach into new communities (now up to 17 different Chicagoland zip codes) through authentic, transparent, and inclusive marketing and word of mouth among our current families.


Hear from our Head of School and Read our Board of Trustees’ DEI Statement here. 

Learn about the NPES DEI Film series here.